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The Need for Effective Work with Textbooks


It is no secret that the textbook is an indispensable assistant to every student, besides it is an inexhaustible storehouse of useful information in this field or another. It is not for nothing that the first acquaintance with a new subject on the specialty at any university always begins with a list of literature that helps expand knowledge and horizons, that is, it helps learn.

And, nevertheless, many modern students ignore such recommendations of teachers, believing that books cannot teach anything intelligent, but only cause a sense of boredom and melancholy.

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In general, it is this way: students do not like to work with textbooks, but, all the same, in the educational process, the moment comes when the help of books becomes simply irreplaceable. For example, the real "emergency" begins during the session, because the books are entrusted with the last hope of a successful passing of a difficult exam.

This is where the question arises: how to work more efficiently with the textbook? In order for the knowledge to be useful in practice, it is important to know a few recommendations.

Professors' Recommendations

Reference Literature

At the very beginning of the semester, each teacher focuses on the reference literature, which will be useful in the coming months for a deep understanding of his or her subject. So, it will not hurt you to at least write down the names of some textbooks, and such records will be useful in the examination session when going to the library or visiting the World Wide Web.

As the practice of many years shows, for most students, special difficulties arise in the understanding of popular-scientific literature, and exams are just around the corner. What do the professors advise their students so that they can learn and consolidate the material they have covered?

Specialists of their subject recommend studying during the semester, so that before the session not load your brains to the fullest, so to speak. It is required after each lecture to read the studied theme, examining what remained to be misunderstood. On the next lecture, it is desirable to ask a question of interest, so that there were no so-called "gaps" in the previous topic.

Of course, students do not follow the professor's instructions, but live by the principle: "It would be more likely to survive this lecture and forget it". However, as a rule, all the "gaps" emerge on the exam, and here you would be happy to ask the teacher, but now he or she is always busy and not inclined to communicate. It is necessary to gain an understanding of the incomprehensible question independently.

Independent Work

In general, individual work with the textbook is an integral part of the educational process, which allows forming and training not only analytical and logical abilities, but also such character traits as comprehension, will power and patience.

So, what to start your independent work with? With the choice of the textbook. Which, in turn, should completely correspond to the given theme, and give deep knowledge in this question or another.

Preparation should not be limited to reckless reading or even worse - to memorizing the material by heart. This approach is fundamentally wrong, because the slightest emotional experience and the "raw knowledge" arranged systematically very quickly turn into "porridge", which will cause only bewilderment on the part of the professors at the session. That is why it is so important to approach intelligently the development of a particular topic.

Summary Plan

Along with the textbook, it is advisable to prepare a lecture summary plan for the required topic, as well as a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Why is it necessary? The textbook is the source of knowledge, the abstract on the subject is their verification, the sheet of paper will very soon turn into a so-called "smart cheat sheet".

The student should carefully read every paragraph, mentally highlight the main idea from it, and then outline it on a sheet of paper while memorizing the material that has already been covered on a subconscious level. It is desirable to work in silence and alone with yourself, as a collective study of the textbook, as a rule, does not end with a good preparation for the exam.

Examples and Solutions

As for the examples that are often presented in the textbooks together with the solutions, it is worth trying to solve them independently, using theoretical knowledge and logic. If the solution is not built correctly, this does not mean that time is wasted - the thought process is already running.

Most likely, the third task will be solved thoughtfully and consciously, and most importantly - correctly. There is a certain pattern here: the first example is solved very quickly and incorrectly, but you already have to rack your brains over the denouement of the third one.

More Than One Source

The professors insist: it is not necessary to be guided by one edition, it is best to use three sources at once during preparation. What is it for? The fact is that each author focuses on that component of the topic, which, in his or her opinion, is especially important.

Alas, the examiners sometimes behave unpredictably, so they can send the examination answer somewhat differently, and the confused student will immediately "swim" in his or her already "raw" knowledge.

It is another matter when several textbooks on the given topic were studied at once on the eve of the exam: the student at the exam feels as much at home as a fish in water, if, of course, the day before he or she was well prepared. So, the study of several publications significantly narrows the range of questions to which the respondent will not be able to provide the correct answer.

Keep the Abstract

In addition, the professors do not recommend getting rid of the abstract that was recorded during diligent preparation. To recycle such a clue is a real crime, the more it can be used not only on the day before the exam, but also during the preparation of the questions received from the examination commission. Although, of course, in the second case, it is desirable that such "assistants" does not fall into the field of view of the examiners, otherwise, the exam may unexpectedly end there, besides not in favor of the student.

We have reviewed the recommendations of professors and have directly approached the same five secrets, which are the summation of observations of students from different countries and universities.

Students' Recommendations

As a rule, a lively interest in the reference literature arises a few days before the exam itself. It is during this period there is a huge desire to learn something "on the topic" appears. Here also difficulties begin, after all, the student in a condition of a panic begins to read the weight of the reference literature, not understanding an essence of the read material.

Such a superficial attitude to the content of textbooks does not give a "dense" preparation and confidence in a good grade. However, students still manage to "race through" the exam and get not excellent but also not satisfactory assessment, which, incidentally, does not negatively affect the average score and does not reduce the chances of getting a scholarship.

So how do students use textbooks?

5 Secrets of Effective Work with the Textbook

The Secret #1

Before passing the exam, you do not have enough time to find literature on the topic of the subject, therefore, students prefer a single edition, and that one which the lecturer used so often at the lectures. This gives hope that, during your answer, he or she will ask questions exclusively within the framework of one author. As students' practice shows, this often happens.

The Secret #2

The most attentive students try to remember the professors' favorite questions on a particular topic, to which they draw the general attention of the audience so often during the conduct of the lecture. It is not excluded that they will become a life-buoy ring for the drowning student during the exam.

So it is important to understand the answers at all costs in order to achieve the desired assessment. Very often teachers themselves provide a list of common questions during the preparation, so that it is important to focus your attention on this aspect.

The Secret #3

The abstract is the "compressed" information from the textbook, which is dominant in the given topic. In addition, such information is provided by the professors themselves, that is, they unequivocally consider it to be the most important in the given topic. That is why the first thing to do is to carefully understand the contents of the lecture, and only then expand the knowledge with the help of additional literature.

The Secret #4

All formulas must necessarily be written on a separate sheet of paper, because, not memorizing them for a long semester, it is unlikely to learn them by heart a couple of days before the exam. This cheat sheet will help very much, but it is also best not to advertise it.

But as for examples with solutions, then, on the advice of professors, it is advisable to solve them independently in order to test your knowledge in practice and finally understand the material that has been covered. If it does not work out the first time, then, as mentioned above, the third attempt can become the starting platform for further achievements.

The Secret #5

Very often the examination material seems very complicated, and individual formulas are completely beyond understanding. There is only one way out: to find the "old" edition, in which the information "on the topic" is presented in a simple and concise manner, and also to ask more competent and savvy comrades for help.

As the saying goes: "Many wits are better than one". So, in some life stories, collective creativity is simply irreplaceable.

So now it is quite obvious that the textbook is not just an unnecessary pile of paper, but an inexhaustible source of knowledge that turns the passing of the exam into pleasant time, and allows the student to prove himself or herself as a high-class specialist in this field of knowledge or another.

However, the main thing is to learn how to use them correctly in order to reliably understand what they want to say. So, maybe, enough panic, finally? Is not it time to take up the textbooks, because the next session is just around the corner?


Within the framework of this article, you learned how to work more efficiently with a textbook. We hope that these tips will help you prepare for the upcoming session or simply facilitate your daily studies at the university. We wish you success in your studies.

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